Another Year, Another Format
The 2001 Up Front
Tournament was a mix of old and new formats, so it seemed
only fitting that the finals were also a mix of the old and new.
The tournament format consisted of two heats, each of which
sent eight players into a double elimination knockout. Even though
a dozen or
so players double-dipped by entering both heats, 16 different
players made it into the knockouts. The twist on the format this
year was that fixed scenario/nationality pairs were during the
heats, with an effort made to force players to play a variety
of scenarios (rather than the basic Patrols and City Fights),
and to try and get people to not automatically take the Germans.
This mostly worked well (with some glaring excaptions).
In the first heat, tournament newcomer Stefan Hess stormed
through the field, beating former champions Bruce Young and John
Emery. But he was matched by new (to WBC, but not to the Up
Front online community) Bruce Wigdor, who also went undefeated
through the heats, and beat Stefan at Outpost Line to go to the
winner's bracket finals.
the second heat, youth was served with Ray Stakenas II and Erick
(son of Bruce) Young coming through the loser's bracket of the
knockout. Ken Katano took the honors in the winner's bracket,
beating Ray II in a Patrol.
The Youngs were knocked out of the loser's bracket, with Erick
giving his dad the heave ho for fifth place. Stefan beat Ray
II in a nail-biting Patrol to survive the bracket. Bruce Wigdor
beat Ken's French in a City Fight to knock him down, and Stefan
survived an early Stream/Marsh/Wire trifecta on his fire base
to knock Ken out in a Patrol.
That set up the rematch in the finals between Stefan and Bruce
Wigdor. Again they chose Outpost Line, and again Bruce got the
Germans, but this time Stefan tried attacking with the Russians.
Stefan's first advance was met with a MTR/MMG 1-2 punch that
routed five men. Bruce then "advanced" his MMG into
-3 Buildings at chit 1. The Russians gradually fled from a hail
of bullets, and Stefan's squad broke late in deck 2 to give Bruce